There was a gut-wrenching moment in the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration this week as Leo Perrero, former Disney IT worker, broke down in tears as he recounted how the company fired him and his colleagues despite record profits so that the company could give their jobs to cheaper foreign workers. The video is below. The company then ordered them to train their replacements or lose their severance pay. At the same time, Disney CEO Bob Iger sent a letter to the remaining company’s employees, asking for them to donate money to support the company’s lobbyists in Disney’s political action committee, DisneyPAC. Disney has been at the forefront in securing draconian copyright laws and protections from Congress.
Perrero testified that
“During the holiday season of 2014, I was sent a meeting invitation by a prominent Disney executive. With an excellent review in hand along with company announcements of record profits my mind buzzed with thoughts of a promotion or a bonus . . . I walked into a small conference room with about two dozen highly respected fellow IT workers. The Disney executive made a harsh announcement to us all. . . . our jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce . . . In the meantime you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100 percent transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay. . . . The final period of the 90 days was the most disgraceful and demoralizing, as we had to watch the foreign workers completely take over our jobs. And we came to grips that the upcoming Disney jobs promise didn’t exist. Then finally on January 31st of 2015 we were forced to turn in our company badges, laptops and then ushered out the door.”
Perrier broke down as he recounted his experience and how only four of his colleagues were given jobs elsewhere in the company.
For those remaining, they received the letter from Iger who, despite record profits, hit up employees to support the company lobbyists. The 1998 copyright extension has even been dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because of Disney’s insatiable demand for added penalties and powers in preventing others from using words, images, and products deemed company property. Iger heralded the success of its army of lobbyists and lawyers in copyright victories. He added “In the coming year, we expect Congress and the Administration to be active on copyright regime issues, efforts to enact legislation to approve and implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, tax reform, and more proposals to weaken retransmission consent, to name a few.” He is probably right about his predictions of success judging from prior years.